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Seven Ideas for Crafting Creative Book Reviews

*Pin Credit: Caroline Flory*
By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

I've been really blessed with some fantastic readers! I don't catch all the blog reviews that readers post about my books, but when one comes to my attention, I try to add it to an ongoing list on my Books Page.

So far readers have written over 40 blog reviews for A Noble Groom (and if I've missed your review, PLEASE let me know!) A BIG thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write something up! I appreciate it SO much!

From a reader's perspective, I appreciate the wide variety of types of reviews.

The least helpful to me personally are the book reviews that simply give an overview of the plot. Usually I can get that kind of summary by reading the book description or back cover blurb. The exception is when I'm reading reviews on books that my kids want to read. Then as a mom, I appreciate a longer, more detailed summary of what's in the book.

The most helpful types of reviews are those that offer personal impressions, in particular what the reader really enjoyed about the book and then perhaps what didn't resonate (if anything). I really like when readers break down the review into smaller sub-sections like "What I Liked" and "What I Didn't Care For" or categories like Plot, Characters, and Writing Style similar to what Kathi O. Peterson did in her review of A Noble Groom.

From an author's perspective, I appreciate any review or mention of my book no matter how big or small and no matter how it's organized! Lately in particular, I've noticed that some reviewers have been thinking outside the box and offering their reviews in various formats.

Here are just a few of the creative types of reviews that readers have done with my latest book A Noble Groom

1. Spotlighting the main characters in a movie star format. Rel Mollet does a great job at this, and here's her Character Spotlight for Carl and Annalisa the main characters in A Noble Groom. She describes the character's physical appearance, what movie star they resemble, quirks, and strengths and weaknesses.

2. Chatting with the main characters in an interview format. Karlene Jacobsen made herself the interviewer and asked questions of both Carl and Annalisa like how they met, whether it was love at first sight, why he decided to stay and help Annalisa on her farm, etc.

3. Sharing the writing lessons learned from the book. Amanda Barratt picked five writing lessons she learned from reading A Noble Groom including lessons about similes and metaphors, conflict, descriptions, making likable characters, and romantic tension.

4. Making a video review of the book. JoJo Sutis from JoJo's Corner does a variety of video book reviews and recently did one for A Noble Groom. She starts by giving a basic description of what the book is about and then ends with her specific impressions of the characters, themes, etc.

Here's an idea of what she does:




5. Making Pinterest pins out of quotes from the book. Caroline Flory made pins out of quotes that were meaningful to her from the book. She pinned them onto Pinterest, used them in her review, and also sent them to me so that I could use them too. (The top picture of this post is one of her pins!)

6. Sharing the review in a party format. Jill Kemerer does a fantastic job celebrating releases and supporting author friends. For every one of my releases, she's thrown a party, had virtual food, invited friends to join in the fun, had giveaways, and celebrated the milestone.

7. Writing a short story or poem to highlight the author or review. Lisa Bartelt did a great job with this, basing her review off the book series by Laura Numeroff’s brilliant “If You Give a …” series of books. To give you an idea of what she did, here's her review:

If you give me a book by Jody Hedlund, I will want to start reading it right away.

If I start reading it right away, I will let the children play anywhere in the house.

If I let the children play anywhere in the house, the house will get messy.

I will feel guilty and want to clean.

I will help them pick up,

Make them dinner,

And put them in bed as early as possible so I can get back to my book.

If the kids are in bed and the house is quiet, I will keep reading.

I will stay up too late.

In the morning, I will need extra coffee to start my day.

If I’m drinking coffee, I will need a book to read.

So I’ll continue reading the new Jody Hedlund book.

One cup of coffee will turn to two.

And soon it’s midmorning and I haven’t washed a dish or folded a piece of laundry.

I will Tweet the author to tell her my house is being ignored because her book is so good.

She will have no sympathy and tell me I can clean later.

I will turn on cartoons so the kids will leave me alone to finish the book.

I will set the book down a dozen times near the end to wait on them.

When I read the last word, I will close the book,

And sigh.

I will plunge my hands in the dishwater and feel a sense of loss.

Because if I finish a Jody Hedlund book, chances are,

I’ll want to read another one. ~Lisa Bartelt

So what kind of reviews are most helpful to you? What kinds are the least helpful?




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